- General contractors are liable for their subcontractors’ (and all lower-tier subcontractors’) failure to pay wages, fringe benefits or any other benefit payment or contributions, including any interest owed on such unpaid amounts.
- However, this liability does not extend to any penalties or liquidated damages.
- While wage claimants do not have a direct right of action against a general contractor, the State Labor Commissioner and Joint Labor-Management Corporation Committees may bring a direct civil action against a general contractor to recover unpaid wages on behalf of wage claimants. The Labor Commissioner may also initiate administrative hearings for the same purpose.
- In addition, Union Trust Funds owed fringe or other benefit payments on behalf of wage claimants may bring a direct civil action against a general contractor on behalf of the unpaid claimants.
- If either a Joint Labor-Management Corporation Committee or a Union Trust Fund prevails in its direct action against a general contractor, it shall be entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs (including expert witness fees) from the general contractor; however, if the general contractor prevails, it is not entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs.
Warning to General Contractors: New California Law Makes Them Liable for Unpaid Subcontractor Wages